Bids worth more than £250m have been sent to the Government to apply for funding to revitalise and transform town centres across Nottinghamshire.
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Broxtowe, Gedling, Mansfield, Ashfield, Newark and Bassetlaw councils have applied for the £4.8b Levelling Up Fund.
Levelling up is a policy devised by Boris Johnson’s Conservative government which aims to address imbalances between different areas across the UK.
It is expected that an announcement will be made by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in the autumn, indicating if the bids have been successful.
The bidding closed this week (August 2). Below are the ambitions of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire’s councils, worth a total of £254m.
Nottingham City Council – £57m
The city council missed out on a Levelling Up bid of £20m last October, which included demolishing some of the Broadmarsh. This year, the authority is bidding for cash again.
If successful, the council would divide the Broadmarsh site into zones with the potential to create 750 homes with views of Nottingham Castle, an art hotel next to Nottingham Contemporary and 400,000 square feet of business space to create up to 6,000 jobs.
The frame of the shopping centre would be kept and could become a place that could house recording studios, a music venue, food outlets, gyms, a skate park, and community garden projects.
Cllr David Mellen (Lab), leader of Nottingham City Council, said a successful bid for Broadmarsh would “help unlock the wider vison for a new ‘green heart’ for the city, rejuvenating the caves and creating new homes, jobs and business opportunities”.
Part of the bid is also intended to improve Bulwell town centre, which will include creating a new promenade alongside the River Leen, improvements to the market place and the restoration of heritage buildings.
The final part of the bid is for £17m to improve the 40-acre Island Quarter site, just off London Road.
Nottinghamshire County Council – £40m
The county council’s bid seeks to unlock major development in Toton, which, if approved, would create a development hub three times the size of the Olympic Park in London.
The bid will focus on a link road to serve the wider Toton and Chetwynd project and comes as the East Midlands Development Corporation (DevCo), its governing body, was given funding and powers to drive the scheme forward.
It forms part of plans to redevelop land at the Chetwynd Barracks site, in Swiney Way, after its scheduled closure in 2024.
The land is earmarked for as many as 4,500 homes, employment space and a major transport hub that was initially due to serve as a HS2 station.
Cllr Milan Radulovic (Lab), leader of Broxtowe Borough Council, previously described the Toton plans, which are based within his borough, as a “powerhouse to level up the whole of the country”.
Newark and Sherwood District Council – £20m
The council’s plans include the development of the disused site at Clipstone Holdings for business space, improvements to Ollerton town centre, new sports facilities in Clipstone and better transport links across the area.
Proposals also include up to 60 new homes, plus new shops, offices and the relocation of the library in Ollerton town centre.
Mansfield District Council – £20m
If the council wins its bid for funding, it would transform the former Beales department store on Stockwell Gate and Queen Street into a new public sector hub.
It would also move services there from its existing Civic Centre headquarters.
Councillor Stuart Richardson (Lab), portfolio holder for regeneration and growth, said that joining up services would “kill two birds with one stone”.
Gedling Borough Council – £50m
If the £50m Levelling Up bid is successful, plans include a new leisure centre and theatre to replace the current Arnold Leisure Centre and Bonington Theatre, which have been operating since the 1980s.
The bid also includes plans for a new library and public space in the northern part of the town centre and improved access from Front Street to High Street.
Cllr John Clarke (Lab), leader of the council, said it was a “strong proposal”.
Broxtowe Borough Council – £36m
Broxtowe Borough Council has applied for £20m for Eastwood and £16m for Kimberley to make what it says are much-needed improvements.
If successful, the funding for Eastwood would be used to create a new health and wellbeing hub, a swimming pool, a community hub and improvements to the cycle network.
Lee Anderson, MP for Ashfield and Eastwood, said the funding would be a “game-changer” for the town.
The Kimberley bid includes town centre enhancements, new industrial units and improvements to its cycle network.
Bassetlaw District Council – £20m
The council submitted this year’s bid “well ahead of the deadline” after its 2021 bid was not received by the government in time.
If the new bid is successful, the Priory Shopping Centre would be redeveloped to include tenpin bowling, an indoor soft play facility, a trampoline park and a café.
A new towpath and moorings would also be created along the Chesterfield Canal, as well as a new bridge linking to the north of the town with under-used space being turned into apartments and town houses.
A new multi-function market area and food court will also be created in addition to a new cycle hub, with café, changing rooms and lockers.
Ashfield District Council – £11m
Ashfield District Council’s bid will focus on improving transport connectivity, heritage, skills and economic regeneration.
The £11m proposals include plans to boost education and skills to create a “future-proof workforce”, supporting shopfront improvements and expanding Hucknall’s outdoor markets. It also includes transport improvements in Hucknall.
And it will celebrate Hucknall’s heritage by creating a new visitor experience at St Mary Magdalene Church, focusing on famous Hucknall residents like Lord Byron and Ada Lovelace, as well as creating a new ‘gateway’ into the town and new 3G sports pitches.
Councillor Lee Waters (Ash Ind), who represents Hucknall North, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “It is hugely ambitious and will be one of the biggest investments in our town for decades.”
Rushcliffe Borough Council
A Rushcliffe Borough Council spokesperson said: “The Council continue to explore bidding opportunities for Levelling Up funding, these will be announced in due course.”